HC Deb 14 May 1959 vol 605 cc1438-41
Mr. Gaitskell

I now ask the Lord Privy Seal whether he will state the business for the week after the Whitsun Recess?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department and Lord Privy Seal (Mr. R. A. Butler)

Yes, Sir. The business for the first week after the Whitsun Recess will be as follows:

TUESDAY, 2ND JUNE—Second Reading of the Pensions (Increase) Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

WEDNESDAY, 3RD JUNE—Supply [15thAllotted Day]: Committee, which it is proposed to take formally.

A debate will then take place on a Motion to take note of the White Paper on Industry and Employment in Scotland for 1958. (Cmnd. 706.)

THURSDAY, 4TH JUNE—Second Reading of the Cotton Industry Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

FRIDAY, 5TH JUNE—Consideration Of Private Members' Motions.

As the House is aware, Her Majesty the Queen has graciously consented to perform the opening ceremony of the Atlantic Congress in Westminster Hall on Friday, 5th June, beginning at 10.25 a.m.

In view of this ceremony it is thought, after consultation through the usual channels, that it would best meet the convenience of hon. Members for the House to assemble at 12 noon on that day and to sit until 5 or 5.30 p.m.

I shall, in due course, move the necessary Motion relating to the changed hours of sitting, and I hope that these arrangements will be agreeable to the House.

Mr. C. Pannell

In view of the fact that the General Election has now been delayed, can the Leader of the House tell us whether, before the election, we can have a debate on the Report of the Select Committee on Procedure?

Mr. Butler

I do not accept the first part of the hon. Member's observation. A General Election will come at a normal constitutional time.

In reply to the second part of his question, I cannot give any undertaking about time, but I do not want to underestimate the importance of the subject.

Sir A. Baldwin

Now that the decks have been cleared of much important legislation, will my right hon. Friend find time in the near future for a debate on the Report of the Royal Commission on Common Lands, which was published eleven months ago? In view of the fact that we are losing thousands of acres every year for building and other purposes, is it not necessary to see that some of this useful land is brought into production?

Mr. Butler

As is well known, the Government are so full of strength and power that we have a very long legisla- tive programme to conclude. I cannot guarantee that there will be time to discuss this Report. I do not doubt that the Opposition, in looking at the opportunities which they have on Supply, will choose this first-class subject for one of their Supply days.

Mr. Strauss

Can the Leader of the House tell us when we are likely to debate the Bowes Report on the future of our canals?

Mr. Butler

I cannot give any undertaking about that subject, although I realise its importance.

Mr. du Cann

May I support the request which has been made for time to be given to a debate on the Report of the Select Committee on Procedure? May I make two further points about this: first, that opportunity should be given to have as wide a debate as possible; and, secondly, that sufficient time should be allowed for the private soldier of the debate, namely, the back bench Member, to take part in it?

Mr. Butler

As my hon. Friend has said, what is important is that the debate should be such, if we have an opportunity of holding it, that even wider subjects than those included in the Select Committee's Report would be susceptible of discussion. It is important to obtain the wisdom of hon. Members, whether they be private hon. Members or on the Front Bench, and it all depends on the time. I will note my hon. Friend's request.

Mr. H. Morrison

Will the Leader of the House say what he meant by "a normal constitutional time" for a General Election? Does he mean when the Parliament has lasted for five years under the Parliament Act, or does he mean something else?

Mr. Butler

As the right hon. Gentleman fully perceives, as an ex-Leader of the House, it means at some date before May, 1960.

Mr. Ernest Davies

Further to the question of my right hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) about the Bowes Report, does the Leader of the House realise that this Report was issued many months ago, since when there has been a White Paper on the Government's proposals in connection with the Report? The House has had the opportunity of discussing neither the Report nor the Government's proposals. Does he not consider that, out of courtesy to the House, hon. Members should have an opportunity of expressing their views upon it, as some of these proposals have been carried out?

Mr. Butler

I realise that there have been both a White Paper and proposals, but at the moment I cannot give an undertaking about a particular date.

Mr. Chetwynd

In view of the interest shown by the House in the question of strontium 90, and the difficulty of getting a full explanation at Question Time by the Prime Minister, will the right hon. Gentleman consider giving time for a debate on this matter?

Mr. Butler

I think that latterly the Prime Minister has had an opportunity, despite the rush at Question Time, of making his position on this matter clear. I realise the importance attached to it by hon. Members, but at present I cannot give any undertaking about a day for a debate of it.

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